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Living Room Special Events

Let the Summer Games Begin: Party Essentials

barThe Rio 2016 Summer Games are officially here!

The only way to properly watch the Opening Ceremonies tonight is to throw a party, and we can make that happen in a few easy steps.

First, we need to talk decorations. You could go in a couple different directions with decorations – all international, root for the home team, or a combination of both. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Hang flags over doorways – the smaller, 6 x 7″ flags with the vinyl rope (find them at places such as Party City).
  • Get patriotic garland to wrap around banisters, fences, etc.
  • Make cutout torches to pass out at the start of the ceremony.
  • Utilize The Games rings – you can hang them on the walls or display the rings and colors in your food.
  • Make a personalized Summer Games banner for your front door.
  • Go all out by getting an athlete cutout that welcomes people into The Village.
  • If you want the whole party to participate, tell people to come dressed as their favorite athlete. You can also have a bin of fun accessories they can put on during the party. This bin can consist of sweat bands, light-up necklaces/bracelets, pom poms, and so on.

Next, you need to think about the menu. Whether you plan on serving finger food or a sit down dinner, choose a theme. You can embrace the South African menu, the international mix-of-everything menu, or a USA menu! With the international and USA menu you can offer your guests a lot of variety. For example, an international menu can consist of: sushi (Japan), egg rolls (China), pizza (Italy), hot pretzels (Germany), and so on. We all know what an American menu would look like – burgers, corn on the cob, apple pie, fried chicken, etc.

With food, also comes the beverages! We’ve discovered some great celebratory sporty cocktails, such as the Camarena torch, Star Spangled Sparkler and World Record Splash. Check out these recipes and more here. You can also create gold, silver and bronze drinks and serve them in three big punch bowls.

people cheering at a gameWhile everyone is not crowded around the television, make sure you plan other ways to keep your guests entertained. Whether it consists of a photo op with the life-sized cutout athlete, a team based activity in the backyard, or a pass the torch drinking game, find a way to keep your guests occupied for the whole night.

Good luck and go USA!

Categories
Special Events

Game Face On: Super Bowl Ready

Football season is finally here again! Make your home everyone’s favorite Game Day Destination with these tips for throwing the ultimate football watching get-together.

 

Take the Throne

super bowl game day essentials

A large sectional is pretty much the number 1 essential for having the best game day party. Our Dante sectional above is the perfect example of this. It’s huge and it reclines, giving your guests the ideal spot while watching the game. Bonus: Our Four Corners coffee table has four stools that pull out to add extra seating in a pinch. A must-have when your friend Jasmine brings two extra people over that you didn’t account for!

You’ve Got Options

storage ottoman game day essentials

Everyone’s going to be eating and someone is bound to make a mess. Get a multifunctional piece like the Tiffany Collection. These babies will help you store clutter while also providing trays for people to eat on AND extra seating! We’re ALL about multi-purpose pieces, they’re so convenient in times of need.

Entertainment Amplified

brentwood entertainment center living room

Your TV needs a throne too! Now this Brentwood might be a little too large for your home, but it’s okay because it comes in multiple sizes! Big enough to store your knick knacks? Check. Plenty of shelving and drawers? Check. Fireplace to keep everyone warm in freezing February? Check. Wide enough for any sized television? Check. It’s multifunctional, classy, and the depth is small enough so it won’t just out into the living room taking up a ton of space!

Drinks On You

bar game day

Obviously you have to have a bar. Obviously. Buy something that can hold a lot of alcohol. Store your wine in the lower, cooler areas with the liquor on top. The kind of bar pieces to get are the ones where people can easily make themselves a drink on it. Of course, a mini fridge is a bonus to have next to it to store the beer. Keeps everything in one little neat area. Check out some bars here. Happy Super Bowl!

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Space Planning & Tips Trends & Inspirations Winter

5 Tips for Throwing a Party in a Small Space

Don’t let those with big houses have all the holiday hosting fun! With a little planning, you can have a great party even in a small space. Here are our top five tips for an amazing holiday shindig no matter how small the space:

  1. Rearrange. Push sofas to the wall. Move excess “stuff” into the bedroom. As much as possible, allow for spots that are “open” for people to gather. When it comes to parties, you don’t need to worry about having enough seating for every single person. Having people up and about actually helps with the energy of a get together.tempo, ottoman, sofa
  2. Get creative. Don’t have a ton of surface space in the kitchen? Try this trick: fill your sink with ice and use it in place of a cooler. No dining room table for people to sit and snack? Use a tray on your ottoman or sofa as an extra spot for guests to set their drinks or plates.
  3. Avoid traffic jams. When space is limited, the layout of food and drinks is important. Don’t set everything on the same side of the room. Spread them out so less people will be trying to get to the same spot.
  4. Use labels. Encourage guests to label their drinks. For wine glasses, buy a few cute wine charms so people can track there drinks. It will help keep the limited surface space from filling up with abandoned drinks.
  5. Deck the WALLS. A holiday party isn’t complete without the decorations! When it comes to a small space, use your walls and ceilings to their fullest potential. String garland, lights, wreaths to fill the space with charm without taking up a ton of room.
Categories
Space Planning & Tips Special Events Winter

Throwing Your First New Year’s Party

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Don’t Get Ahead of Yourself

New Year’s Eve is a guaranteed late night. If you start the party too early, everyone will run out of steam by the time the ball drops. A slightly later start time – like 9 p.m. – will give everyone a chance to get settled in and into the party groove, but still be nice and alert by the time the New Year rolls around.

Create the Mood

Lighting is one of the easiest, but most overlooked, ways to create the right mood for your party. Put in some lower watt bulbs, light a few candles or string some white Christmas lights. Paper lanterns are also a popular and inexpensive way to soften the lighting and get everyone in the party spirit.

fl11

Sparkle and Shine

New Year’s Eve is all about the glitter and glam. Luckily, it’s also the time a lot of Christmas decorations are on sale! So grab some lights, glittery ornaments, tinsel or whatever you see that will add that little touch that shows this party is something special!

Music is a Must

One of the biggest elements that can make or break a party is the music mix. The right choice of tunes can add life and energy to a get together. Try to keep your music mix upbeat with a few “nostalgic” jams thrown in. Everyone gets excited when they here that song that takes them back to their younger years.

Ice It

It’s something you don’t really think about until you realize you’re out! It’s true that you really can never have too much ice at a party! You’ll be amazed just how much gets used.


new year's eve partyBubbly for All

Champagne and New Year’s Eve go hand in hand. But don’t feel like you need to spend a fortune to fill everyone’s glass. Many brands make champagne that is as inexpensive as $10 a bottle. Sparkling fruit juices are a nice addition for those who want to join the fizzy fun without the buzz.

Signature Cocktail

Show your guests you’ve put extra care into your shindig with a signature cocktail. Come up with a drink that really captures you, your friends or even a big event from the past year! The best thing about a signature cocktail is that it can be anything you want it to be. Have an alternate version that is non-alcoholic for those all-important designated drivers!

Munchies

People won’t expect a full meal, but some snacks are a must. You’ll likely have a lot of guests indulging in those signature drinks, so it’s imperative that you have some food around to keep guests from drinking on an empty stomach.

10, 9, 8…

Keep plenty of clocks visible and have a TV or radio set for the big countdown. A bowl with a few inexpensive favors that people can grab will add fun and excitement to the countdown. Noisemakers, confetti and even bubbles will enhance everyone’s countdown experience!

Expect Overnight Guests

To be a truly responsible New Year’s Eve host, plan to have a few guests who will stay the night. If you don’t have a guest room, make sure you have some extra pillows and blankets ready to make up the couch (a sleeper sofa is always great to have). In the morning, basic breakfast items will be greatly appreciated (or go all out if you’ve got the culinary skills). Also, plenty of aspirin will come in handy on New Year’s morning.

Have Fun

The most important rule of hosting any get together is to make sure you have fun! No party can thrive when the host is stressed so make sure you don’t let your hosting duties keep you from enjoying the night!

 

Categories
Special Events Trends & Inspirations

6 Tips to Make Your Home Great for Guests

The season of entertaining is officially upon us! Here are 6 super simple tips to make your home great for guests.

  1. Do a surface clean. This isn’t the time to re-organize your closet and re-design your living room. Just make sure surfaces are wiped down, floors are vacuumed and clutter is put away.
  2. Shine the right light. The dimmer switch is the spot-cleaners best friend. Not only is lowering the light great for hiding any cleaning indiscretions, it’s perfect for creating a cool mood.
  3. Add some candlelight. A great scented candle makes your home super welcoming. Just don’t choose a scent that’s too overpowering (stay away from strong cinnamon or a tropical island theme) and make sure to blow out the scented candles before everyone eats.
  4. Have enough seating. This one is most important for any kind of dinner party. If guests will be sitting down to a meal you’ll want an exact chair count. For general holiday parties, you don’t need seating for everyone. It’s actually better to have less seating to encourage people to mingle.
  5. Add a little bit of nature. It’s amazing how quickly flowers and houseplants can instantly warm up your space.
  6. Create a playlist. You don’t want anything that will be distracting. Just some light tunes in the background so it’s not too obvious if the conversation comes to a lull for a moment. If you don’t feel like putting a list together yourself, all kinds of streaming music sites provide pre-made party playlists and stations.
Categories
Special Events

Have a Great Game Night

It’s time to bring back game night! Sound a little old school? Maybe. But in this era of smartphones you’ll find that a little face-to-face time with friends might be just what your Saturday nights have been missing.

What to play:

  • Classic board games: People love a good throwback! And after all, games like Clue or Monopoly have to be great to have lasted this long!
  • Party games: Charades is a classic that everyone loves, but there is also a whole new breed of party games around today. Yes, we just said to put down the smartphone, but the game Head’s Up is a great one for a small group of friends. Also, if you like your games a little edgier, Cards Against Humanity has a huge cult following.
  • Video games: You don’t have to be a gamer to enjoy these types of video games. Games like Scene-It make great use of your gaming system. Video game system with motion sensing technology can even have your guests up and dancing!
Checkerboard Cheese Sandwiches
Get your snacks in the spirit with this fun Checkerboard Cheese Sandwich idea.

What to serve: Finger foods are definitely the way to go. But nothing too greasy (steer clear of chicken wings). Get food that’s too messy and your guests will end up passing around more than playing cards!

Set up the space: Time to clear off those table tops. Make sure you have enough seats for everyone at the dining room table and clear (or rearrange) the area around the coffee table so everyone has a spot to sit. If you’re playing a Wii style game with a lot of movement, check the entire area to create a safe gaming zone.

Categories
Space Planning & Tips Special Events

Party for Halloween in Any Size Home

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Scared you right?

Just getting into the holiday spirit! Halloween is less than a month away and chances are you’re already planning the perfect Halloween bash. You might be in a small studio apartment or a 2 bedroom townhouse or big home with multiple rooms, these tips are for any size home! Halloween party

 

One Room/Studio Apartment

If you’re in a small apartment, the first thing to do is make room in your home. Clear out the space and push everything against the walls. Get a large rug for the center of the room where people can dance or gather in the center. Utilize small tables or bar carts along the walls for food and drink stations. Dim the lights and set up candles in votives for spooky mood lighting. Use fake cobwebs to divide up the room into “mini rooms.”

Halloween composition on fireplace closeupCondo/Townhouse/Large Apartment

You’ve got a little more room to play with! If you’re in a 2-bedroom apartment all on one floor, dedicate the guest room to being the “scary room” with creepy decor and a scary soundtrack. If you’ve got a 2 level condo or townhouse, make the downstairs living room area the dance floor. Move everything against the wall. Have all the drinks in the kitchen/dining area. In the upstairs area, make it the hangout spot where your guests can chat. Tell scary stories or play spooky games! The possibilities are endless!

Three Bedroom Home and Up Pumpkins near the door during Halloween season

Your home is primed and ready to be a full-fledged haunted house! First thing is to remove any breakables and store them somewhere safe. Then you need to map out where people are going to walk through. Dedicate each room to a different, terrifying theme: one room is a graveyard, another is where the mummies rest, yet another could be a bat cave with vampires lurking. The mood and lighting has to fit perfectly. A fog machine is a MUST. You can do anything your rooms!

 

Don’t be afraid to have the best Halloween bash ever because of the size of your space! The most important thing is that you and your friends have the night of their lives! Send us your photos on Instagram or Twitter!

Categories
Autumn Life Events

Ready For Some Football

Autumn is here and that means football parties are back! Whether you’re a loyal fan or a casual cheerer, getting together to watch the game is a staple of the season. Here are some ideas to throw the perfect football party…

Invite the right people

People from opposing teams ALWAYS make for an entertaining time. Bring the smack talk and the hubris because no one does it better than football fans. Leave out people who don’t watch football, they’ll only bring the mood down! Bonus, the right people will bring food and booze!

TV matters

Flat screens? Duh. Go for broke and get DUAL or TRIPLE screens so there’s several games going on at once! This is a party for god’s sakes. Now you’ll definitely need the right kind of entertainment center to maximize the experience. We love Brentwood for this because it’s got so much room for, well, everything! You can center your seating around it so everyone has the best seats in the house.

 

brentwood1

Stick to the food basics

Finger foods are a must: chips and dip, mini corn dogs, little sandwiches, peanuts, trail mix, etc. If it’s nice outside, start up the grill and get those burgers and hot dogs going! Set up little food stations around the room to make it easy for people to go back and forth without a mess!

Seating:

 

Stock up on cleaning supplies:

Have fun/remember it’s just a game:

Categories
Summer

The Perfect Labor Day Playlist

You already know how to throw the perfect Labor Day party. Now add some fun to your playlist with this list of songs that understand what it’s like to be the hard working man or woman that you are!

1. Dolly Parton, “9 to 5”

2. Loverboy, “Working for the Weekend”

3. Donna Summer, “She Works Hard for the Money”

4. Bachman-Turner Overdrive, “Takin’ Care of Business”

5. Todd Rundgren, “Bang On The Drum All Day”

6. Bob Dylan, “Maggie’s Farm”

7. Tennessee Ernie Ford, “Sixteen Tons”

8. Rush, “Working Man”

9. Dire Straits, “Money for Nothing” 

10. Sam Cooke, “Chain Gang”

11. Jimmy Reed, “Big Boss Man”

12. The Beatles, “A Hard Day’s Night”

13. Glen Campbell, “Wichita Lineman”

14. Rolling Stones, “Salt of the Earth”

15. Elvis Costello, “Welcome to the Working Week”

Categories
Space Planning & Tips

5 Tips for the Perfect Labor Day Party

It’s hard to believe, but Labor Day weekend is almost here. Spending tons of time outside with friends and family is an absolute must as the unofficial end of summer arrives. Here are some tips for making your Labor Day party a total success.

1. Swim while you still can! If you have access to a pool, it is a MUST to spend some of your party time there. In most cooler climates, this is the final weekend that public outdoor pools will be open!

2. Grill, grill, grill. Did we mention grill? No Labor Day get together would be complete without grilling out. But don’t feel like you’re stuck with hot dogs and burgers. All kinds of healthy and vegetarian grilling options can be served up on the grill.Group Of Friends Enjoying Outdoor Meal At Home

3. Update your patio for less. With patio season nearing its end, now is the time to save big on patio furniture! You may not get much use out of it this year, but you’ll be happy to have snagged those savings when next summer rolls around. OR add a set with a fire pit and make your patio perfect for those chilly autumn nights to come.

4. Keep your guests protected. Guests know to BYOB, but that usually doesn’t stand for “bring your own bug spray.” Be a thoughtful host and provide your guests with products to fend off pesky insects. There is no faster way to ruin an outdoor meal than to become one yourself!

5. Put away the smartphones. No really, give it a try! Suggest to guests that they all put their phones down and really commit to the moment. You’ll probably get some resistance at first, but it can be really nice to get a break from constantly checking your phone for a few hours. You’ll probably notice that the conversation picks up, too!